Overview of UK's Construction Market in May

The UK construction market hit an 18 month high in May as low interest rate and strong labour markets underpinned residential building activity. The Purchasing Managers’ Index for the construction sector advanced unexpectedly to 56.0 in May from 35.1 in April. Survey results from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply showed Friday.

This score was forecasted to 52.6, and so the reading showed the fastest growth in the construction sector since December 2015. While the headline index signalled a fast growth momentum during May, the latest reading was still much weaker than the post-crisis peak seen in January 2014.

This improvement and growth was driven by the fastest upturn in residential work since the end of 2015; respondents cited a strong pipeline of new development projects and resilient underlying demand conditions. The data collected also pointed to rises in civil engineering and commercial building. Despite commercial development remaining the weakest performing category the current growth was the fastest seen since March 2016.

Despite the increasing amount of workloads and new work, many still note that the heightened economic uncertainty continued to act as a break on client spending.

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